Rome wasn't built in a day.
That is what New York Mets fans must assure themselves of as they sit through what is well on its way to becoming yet another disappointing second half.
Before the All-Star break, Terry Collins had his team a half-game behind the Atlanta Braves for the second wild-card spot in the National League.
The team was playing great baseball, was six games over .500 at home, boasted a .500 record away from Citi Field and had the Mets faithful feeling pretty good about their chances to shock the baseball world.
Fast forward to Tuesday, August 7, and the Amazins' are 12.5 games back of the Washington Nationals in the race for the National League East division crown, nine games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot in the NL and feeling pretty terrible about themselves in general.
This has led many people to question whether general manager Sandy Alderson is the right man to turn the organization around.
To believe otherwise is to undermine the entire process that Alderson is trying to carry out. The organization put faith in him when he was hired after the 2010 season. He has a vested interest in the team's success, as there is a club option clause in his contract for 2015.
Sure, he declined to bring in a bullpen arm or a right-handed bat at the deadline—both of which could have alleviated some of the gut-wrenching struggles that have plagued "TC" and his lineup over the last three weeks.
That may be construed as Alderson dropping the ball, but it is naive to believe that he just couldn't swing a deal to bring in an arm or a bat. He's a Harvard graduate and a huge proponent of sabermetrics, so it would be a stretch to think that he couldn't find a deal on the market.
The verdict is still out on Alderson's refusal to acquire the two aforementioned (much-needed) pieces. We won't be able to objectively reflect on his decision until at least this time next year when the Mets are either in the playoff race or out of it.
Alderson would have likely been forced to trade some collection of young talent for a bullpen arm. Despite what many might say, let's face it, an extra guy out of the bullpen was not going to turn around this team's problems and vault it into the playoffs.
Bullpen arms come and go. A guy is great one year, but serves up batting practice the next (see: Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz). It would be foolish to trade quality young talent for a relief pitcher that could be terrible before next season is out.
When Alderson was hired, he was given the task of rebuilding a franchise with no money and a minimal amount of fan approval. He has done exceptionally well to attract interest back into the team and field a quality product that fans can get excited about.
Granted, he is not responsible for the development of the players, but he is responsible for the current roster. He was essentially walking on egg shells during the trade deadline turmoil, as he could have been remembered as the general manager who traded "so-and-so" for a setup man.
The Mets were pegged by many to finish in the cellar of the National League East. If I would have told you that the Mets would be relevant until the last week of July, you probably wouldn't have believed it—or at least you would have been excessively optimistic to believe such a thing.
Collins has the team three games under the .500 mark 109 games into the 2012 season. A .500 campaign would not be a disappointment for this team, it would be a surprise given the players on the roster.
This was labeled as somewhat of a rebuilding period for the team. Some predicted that 70 wins would be where the Mets would end up by the time October rolled around.
Instead, the team is just three games to the bad with 53 remaining. Rebuilding periods are supposed to take two to four and three to five years before the team is relevant again—the Mets will be repaired before next season is through.
Can Sandy Alderson turn the New York Mets around?
The Mets will be a wild-card contender next season. There is talent in the farms on both the offensive end and on the mound. Offseason acquisitions will be made and the team will be competitive much later than they have been this year.
For a team that was supposed to be rebuilding to be in third place in its division is impressive. It's no secret that this roster isn't that talented, but the players are fun to watch for the most part.
If this is the rebuilding period of the New York Mets, I'm almost too excited to see what the team will look like a few years down the road.
Alderson is the right man to get the job done in Flushing. If you recall, the Oakland Athletics fought through five mediocre to poor seasons under Alderson before the team won four division titles, three American League Championships and the World Series in 1989.
If that is what is in the future for the Mets, fans would be wise to remain patient with Alderson.